Musical director Art Rupe, 1917-2022 – Obituaries | Obituaries | News

Little Richard enjoyed a break given to him by Rupe when he owned Specialty Records in Los Angeles. Little Richard sent in a tape under his name Richard Penniman.

Rupe wanted to hear what it sounded like to sing live. Initially he was unimpressed and asked the singer to play the piano, which he did to a tune called Tutti Frutti.

Released as Little Richard, the song was one of Penniman’s 14 hits with the label.

Arthur Newton Goldberg was born in Greensburg, Pittsburgh.

His father David sold second-hand furniture and his mother Anna encouraged his love of music, especially gospel singing.

He moved to Los Angeles in 1939 to study business and changed his last name to Rupe.

In 1944, he founded Jukebox Records and two years later launched Specialty Records.

His hits include Percy Mayfield’s Please Send Me Someone To Love and Lloyd Price’s Lawdy Miss Clawdy.

Music historian Billy Vera said that Specialty Records defined the evolution of black popular music from the 1940s to rock ‘n’ roll.

However, some great artists ran away, including the Beatles.

In 2011, at the age of 94, Rupe was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with the quote: “Rock and roll as we know it wouldn’t exist without Art Rupe.”

He married three times and is survived by his daughter Beverly Rupe Schwarz.

  • ART RUPE BORN SEPTEMBER 5, 1917 – DIED APRIL 15, 2022, AGED 104.


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